The Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, now in their 19th year, are often a bipolar experience to read through. I'm annually enraged by the rules dictacting who receives a nomination when an ensemble nomination happens, but generally speaking there tends to one thing worth being super-thrilled about in the mix beyond all the sleep-inducing reiterations of every Oscar pundit's list.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
BRADLEY COOPER / Pat - “SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK” (The Weinstein Company)
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS / Abraham Lincoln - "LINCOLN” (Touchstone Pictures)
JOHN HAWKES / Mark - "THE SESSIONS" (Fox Searchlight)
HUGH JACKMAN / Jean Valjean - "LES MISÉRABLES" (Universal Pictures)
DENZEL WASHINGTON / Whip Whitaker - "FLIGHT" (Paramount Pictures)
In with Bradley Cooper. Out with Joaquin Phoenix? The Master enters the Oscar nomination period looking shakier than ever. We could see a complete shut out or 4 or 5 nominations for the handsome, well acted but ultimately not too accessible film. It might just be the year's biggest wild card at this point.
It's worth noting that people often emphatically exaggerate the meaning of "snubs". For all we know Phoenix's no show here was a matter of one vote, rather than anything to do with the movie (though it probably isn't well enough loved) or his feelings about awards campaigns. MORE...
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
JESSICA CHASTAIN / Maya - "ZERO DARK THIRTY” (Columbia Pictures)
MARION COTILLARD / Stephanie - “RUST AND BONE” (Sony Pictures Classics)
JENNIFER LAWRENCE / Tiffany - “SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK” (The Weinstein Company)
HELEN MIRREN / Alma Reville - “HITCHCOCK” (Fox Searchlight)
NAOMI WATTS / Maria - “THE IMPOSSIBLE” (Summit Entertainment)
Foreign language and barely seen performances have a tougher time winning the attention of the more mainstream skewing SAG than they do winning over Oscar voters so we could attribute the presence of Marion Cotillard and the absence of Emmanuelle Riva and Rachel Weisz to be a simple affirmation of Marion Cotillard’s A list stardom, Weisz’s low profile film, and Riva’s absence from the campaign trail –her work hast to speak for itself whilst Cotillard travels the Globe to hit every red carpet.
It’s also worth noting that while SAG generally loves little girl actors even more than Oscar, Quvenzhane Wallis was not eligible for this prize. So with Wallis & Riva & Weisz all still very much in the discussion and the extreme longshot possibility that Oscar voters might reject category fraud in the case of Helen Hunt or Ann Dowd, it would be surprising if this list transfers 100% to Oscar Nomination Morning.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
ALAN ARKIN / Lester Siegel - “ARGO” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
JAVIER BARDEM / Silva - "SKYFALL" (Columbia Pictures)
ROBERT DE NIRO / Pat, Sr. - "SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK" (The Weinstein Company)
PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN / Lancaster Dodd - “THE MASTER” (The Weinstein Company)
TOMMY LEE JONES / Thaddeus Stevens - “LINCOLN” (Touchstone Pictures)
This might qualify as SAG’s most curious nominee-set this year: Hoffman shows up without his elevating scene partner Joaquin Phoenix or his screen wife or an ensemble nomination so did the other two just miss and he just barely qualified on name and general fellow actor’s worship?; Bardem is an oddity because outside of rare BAFTA nods, the 007 series rarely produces anything like an "awards" performance -- is it as simple as the bulk of voters actually SAW Skyfall (you’d be surprised how many voting members of various awards bodies don’t see very many movies before voting starts); Alan Arkin seems like the kind of nominee SAG would go for regardless of awards buzz – see also Betty White’s umpteenth nod for Hot in Cleveland – but then you remember that he’s had Oscar buzz all year and you wonder how that happened? The buzz not this nomination; DeNiro and Jones are the only two who feel like dead certain Oscar nominees. But we shall see... perhaps it's a 5/5 prophesy.
Contrary to popular belief which comes partly from lazy media blabbering SAG’s voting branch and Academy Acting’s Branch don’t really have that much of an overlap. SAG’s nominating committee changes regularly and is drawn randomly from their overall body which houses 100,000 members whereas there are only about 1,000+ actors that are members of the Academy’s Acting Branch.
The year's most unfortunate snub is surely Matthew McConaughey's great work as "Dallas" in Magic Mike. I've always cautioned that Oscar wouldn't take this fine film seriously enough despite McConaughey's ridiculously over-achieving peak year. I didn't want to be right! Hopefully this is a mere blip and I was wrong and he'll see his first Oscar nomination.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
SALLY FIELD / Mary Todd Lincoln - "LINCOLN" (Touchstone Pictures)
ANNE HATHAWAY / Fantine - “LES MISÉRABLES” (Universal Pictures)
HELEN HUNT / Cheryl - “THE SESSIONS” (Fox Searchlight)
NICOLE KIDMAN / Charlotte Bless - "THE PAPERBOY” (Millennium Entertainment)
MAGGIE SMITH / Muriel Donnelly - “THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL” (Fox Searchlight)
Even alphabetically speaking the top three are the actual top three in terms of awards buzz this annum. Otherwise the Supporting Actress field has remained elusive, foggy, and either barren or multi-headed depending on who you ask.. But I wouldn’t have it any other way because the general confusion created the extraordinary vaccum that sucked in the incomparable Nicole Kidman’s latest brilliant creation “Charlotte Bless”. This actress’s character gallery grows ever more diverse and crowded. Other actors really ought to bow down. And with SAG today, happily, some did.
I’ve heard a few random gripes on Twitter about this nomination, usually stemming from the consensus that The Paperboy is not a good film but no matter what one thinks of any particular film, the achievements WITHIN that film are the things you’re supposed to be talking about in any category outside of Best Picture.
What's your favorite and least favorite nomination here?